By Mary Lynn Bruny

One home trend on the downswing is the popularity of wall signs with inspirational or saucy quotes. You know, those signs that say things like: “Live every day like it’s your last,” or “It’s wine-thirty somewhere!” Thank goodness! Being the slight curmudgeon I am, these things have always mildly irked me.

First of all, I don’t like an object (or a person for that matter) telling me what to do. For instance, I don’t think I should live every day like it’s my last. Think about it. This would be very unproductive: I’d be on a beautiful beach with a bottomless rum drink in my hand listening to Reggae music. Definitely not a sustainable lifestyle, thus just bad advice.

Secondly, does one need a sign to tell them what their life is or how to live it? “It’s a great day every day! Be thankful!” This seems rather unrealistic. Why do we think every day should be great?

When our youngest son Nick was growing up, I would always ask him how his day was when he came home from school. “Regular,” he would usually respond. To me, this is most of life: just regular. Then interspersed between regular days (which becomes a better adjective the older one gets), there are “better days/great days” and “worse days/horrible days” (or weeks or months or years or decades).

These dang hyper-positive signs kind of get my goat because they – along with society in general – are setting false expectations in terms of happiness and positivity. Perhaps I could stomach them more if they said something like: “Have a day where nothing horrendous happens and be thankful for that.”

You may think I sound very negative but I assure you I am quite the opposite. When you have a realistic view of the amount of happiness life and the average day will afford you, you are usually pretty content with your lot. It’s those folks with high expectations – those in search of a life like an iPhone commercial – that are eternally frustrated, thus perhaps they buy little signs to boost their moods.

But perhaps I’m totally off. Although I do not like these signs, I usually always like the people who have them. My wonderful niece Jessica comes to mind. Her family’s Broomfield house is chock full of these things. You can’t turn your head without being told something positive. At big family gatherings at their home we are usually “living, laughing and loving,” so the sign telling us to do so seems unneeded. (Or, it’s very, very effective. Now there’s a thought.)

My friend Patty’s mother Evelyn is the person who I believe started this entire trend many decades ago. In her former NJ home – especially in the kitchen – there were cross-stitched quotes and printed signs blanketing the walls: “Bless this mess,” “Irish hikers do it in the clover,” and “Good girls seldom make history or strong cocktails.” She actually had some very thought-provoking signs.

The only sign I do have is a little handmade paper one outside by our front doorbell. It says: “No soliciting. Jesus already loves us. Don’t need magazines. Tired of signing petitions. Local children exempt.” Really catchy, don’t you think? Maybe I need to produce that into an actual sign. Sure it would be a best seller with other curmudgeons.

By Mary Lynn Bruny. Mary Lynn  writes about local real estate and home-related topics. Contact her at [email protected]. To read previous The Lighter Side articles, go to